Road trip and Alumni Event!

What an adventure it has been so far! The 2017 Canadian group arrived in Helsinki on May 22 and 23, a full month ago now! Right upon arrival, it was a fun-filled journey as we went from the airport to a welcome picnic at Esplanadi. Jetlagged, but eager and excited, we met the hosting group of Finns. The next day, we departed on our road trip. We travelled from Helsinki to Tampere, Seinäjoki, Vaasa, Pori, Turku, the Åland Islands, Kemiönsaari, and back to Helsinki. We are so thankful for our dedicated chauffeurs, Tuukka, Tuomas and Philip for transporting us safely for 9 days. I can say that the road trip was an incredible journey, with memories that I will always remember! As a born-and-raised Canadian of Finnish heritage, I am grateful for this opportunity to explore Finland.

On the road trip, in Isokyrö, Finland

Lisa, Jasmine, Jaimi and I moved into our apartments in Vuosaari, Helsinki on June 1. Kennedy moved to Kemiönsaari and Tian moved to Jokioinen, because that’s where their jobs are located. It took about a week for us to settle in and feel “at home!”

Over a week after we moved in, on Saturday June 10, the Finns hosted an alumni welcome event in the Kallio district of Helsinki. Riikka made some delicious food for all the guests, including a lemon cake, which was delectable! It was a unique experience meeting alumni from past Kaledonistit exchanges – even alumni from several decades ago. What stood out most to me were the Finns from the 2007 group! Not one, but two married couples came out of the exchange that year, along with great friendships. I thought that was very special. It was fun introducing ourselves to the alumni and we enjoyed sharing photos with them, especially from the road trip.

Introducing ourselves to the Finns

The alumni involvement truly keeps the spirit alive in the Hart House Finnish Exchange/Kaledonistit program, and it inspires our current group of Canadians to continue the involvement over the next several years and beyond.

Alumni and some little Finns!

Thank you to Marianne, Henrietta, Riikka, Tuomas, Tuukka, and Philip for being wonderful hosts so far and teaching us about Finnish life and culture – and also for recommending all the best spots to go in Helsinki!

Kind regards,

Felicia

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